Fire and frost horn

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( Horn.png
Name fire horn
Appearance horn
Base price 50 zm
Weight 18
Material bone
Monster use May be used offensively by monsters.
( Horn.png
Name frost horn
Appearance horn
Base price 50 zm
Weight 18
Material bone
Monster use May be used offensively by monsters.

The fire horn and frost horn are rare musical instruments that can deal elemental damage.

Generation

Fire and frost horns start with 4 to 8 charges.

Effects

Applying a fire or frost horn with charges left will prompt you to improvise; if you answer yes, the game will ask the player for a direction, and the horn will emit a ray of fire or cold respectively. This will auto-identify the horn.

For each application of the horn, a number X is chosen between 6 and 11 inclusive.[1] Each monster hit with the ray will then be dealt Xd6 damage, unless it resists the respective element. (Contrast this with the respective wands, for which the X always equals 6.) Frost horns also deal Xd3 additional damage to monsters resistant to fire but not to cold, and fire horns deal 7 extra damage to monsters resistant to cold but not to fire.

An uncharged fire or frost horn behaves the same as a tooled horn; answering no to the "Improvise?" prompt also lets you play the horn as a musical instrument without using up any charges.

The horn can be recharged an unlimited number of times, but can only hold up to 20 charges at once. Each recharge adds 1d4 charges, or 2d4 if the scroll is blessed.

Identification

Apply an unidentified horn as soon as you find it. If it produces an item, it's a horn of plenty and it will be auto-identified as such. Otherwise, you can choose not to improvise to conserve a charge. Tooled horns can be eliminated by price identification (they cost only 15 zm); a horn that costs 50 zm and doesn't produce food must be either fire or frost. There's no way to tell the two apart without direct identification or spending a charge.

Strategy

Fire and frost horns are offensively superior to their wand counterparts, dealing about 40% more damage on average. They are also not destroyed by shock attacks. Fire horns cannot be used to engrave Elbereth, however. Even after spending all the charges the horn is useful, as it becomes able to scare monsters. Recharging them is generally unwise, as by the time you have ample access to charging, you should also collect more elemental wands than you could ever use, allowing you to save your scrolls for more important purposes. A player that gets the PYEC and an elemental horn early may be an exception to this advice, though.

Like with all rays, be careful not to aim the horn in the wrong direction and cause a potentially deadly rebound, whether you are identifying it or using it against monsters; this also makes it somewhat difficult to use them in tight corridors.

References